O’Malley, 78, has been a member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin since 1965. Padre Pio, one of the 20th century’s most beloved saints, was also a Capuchin friar.
Pio, born Francesco Forgione in 1887, made solemn vows with the Capuchins at the age of 19. His life was marked by illness and physical suffering, including receiving the visible stigmata — bleeding wounds corresponding to the five wounds Christ received at his crucifixion — in 1918.
His desire to create a hospital founded on the principle of caring for both the body and soul of the sick and suffering also led him to establish Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, or Home for the Relief of the Suffering, today a state-of-the-art private hospital and research center.
Padre Pio’s mission, Cardinal O’Malley said, “was a mission of mercy, to those who were sick…